Appeals Court: WELLESLEY CONSERVATION COUNCIL, INC. v. ROBERT W. PEREIRA et al

KeywordsReal Property, Conservation restriction. Damages. Practice, Civil, Summary judgment, Damages

In its decision in this case, the Appeals Court addresses the scope of enforcement options available to the holder of a conservation restriction, in particular whether injunctive relief is the holder’s sole remedy for violations of the restriction’s terms.  The trial court had ruled that Section 32 of the state’s Conservation Restriction Act (G.L. c. 184, Sections 31-333) does not authorize enforcement by way of the payment of damages or attorneys fees. The Appeals Court concluded otherwise: “The plain language of § 32 provides that “[t]he restriction may be enforced by injunction or other proceeding, and shall entitle representatives of the holder to enter the land in a reasonable manner and at reasonable times to assure compliance.  If the court in any judicial enforcement proceeding . . . finds there has been a violation of the restriction . . . then, in addition to any other relief ordered, the petitioner bringing the action or proceeding may be awarded reasonable attorneys’ fees and costs incurred in the action.”  (Emphasis added.) . . .  Thus, § 32 by its own terms does not limit enforcement measures to injunctive relief alone.”  Click here for the full text of the Appeal Court’s decision.

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